BRENDA HEIM

Pushing the boundaries of light, color and design, Bette Ridgeway is best known for her large-scale, luminous poured canvases, which, in recent years have garnered notable international recognition.  The artist’s recognition is as much identified with the process of controlled paint-pouring and canvas manipulation as with the gem-like veils of transparent and translucent color which have characterized her work since the early 1980s.

Art Tour International Magazine has awarded Ridgeway “Top 60 Contemporary Masters 2017” and in 2016 she received the prestigious Leonardo DaVinci prize in Rome, Italy. In addition she won the Oxford University Alumni Prize at the “Art of the Mind” exhibition at the Chianciano Art Museum in Tuscany in 2012. She participated in the inaugural London Art Biennale in January of 2013 and at the Gagliardi Gallery in London in April 2013.

Trained as a watercolorist, the artist’s love affair with water media began as a youngster growing up in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York (only a few miles from Canada) where she was surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Informed by this early experience, she has traveled the globe, studying, painting, teaching and exhibiting her work, while embracing the customs and colors of the diverse cultures of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America. Ridgeway’s formal art studies at Russell Sage College, New York School of Interior Design and the Art Students League gave her the basic tools in the use of materials and technique. Her personal style, however, was a long time in development.

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Picasso once said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Essentially, this is what happened with Heim. That free thinking, non-prejudiced, eyes wide open approach that most of us last felt as a child took over her stagnant painting process. Heim was moving away from being a non-descript observer/painter to a passionate, bold and impulsive Action Painter like her forbearers. She likes to state it as a feel first, think second methodology that many art lovers will find quite refreshing and honest since so many are concerned only with fame and fortune.

 

Over the past eight years Heim has moved into the realm of public art turning her meditative, gestural twodimensional works into three-dimensional steel. This transition, which sometimes occurs with co-creator, sculptor Doug Hays, leaves us with an even greater understanding of Heim’s emphasis when it comes to free and fluid thinking. This ability that Heim has to maintain a high level of freethinking in the designs of her three-dimensional works is important to note because the production of a sculpture, especially one that is fabricated in steel, requires a lot more planning than a painting.

Beginning in 2012, Heim explored a series of two-dimensional works collectively titled “Broken Circle” opening up an even greater path to her emotional and spiritual wholeness. By placing the color orange alongside fragments of circles, and painting with her non-dominant hand, Heim produced an unusual and unfamiliar rhythm of markings, mixtures and movements.

Also at this time, Heim made one very pivotal technical leap mastering a combination of wet-on-wet Sumi ink and acrylic paint-layering combinations. This new technique, as with the previously used approaches, worked perfectly with her quest to maintain spontaneous creativity without analytical bias based on predetermined aesthetics.

Most recently, in addition to working with mops and industrial sized brushes Heim has begun to make her own painting tools opening up even more options in her highly sensitive and contemplative iconography. In some instances, a hint of architectural form comes into play as Heim makes increasingly larger and more powerful works.

Artist Statement

Art has the ability to give something back beyond wealth, fame or critical acclaim. The joy in art making comes when one’s mind, body and spirit are relaxed and set free from the barriers of Western, Euro-centric intellectual protocol. My experience with Zen brush painting, coupled with emotional release techniques has brought me over thirty years of constantly renewing and revitalizing life-sustaining vigor in the studio.

To be able to create art in the Zen state of ‘no-mind,’ whereby all preset, outside, so called intellectual concerns and obsessions are eliminated has totally liberated me in my creative approach. To not be concerned about where my brush strokes, drips and spatters are landing – to be able to work with anything from small ‘artist’s brushes’ to mops soaked with paint – to eliminating any thoughts or subject matter or narrative of any kind has allowed me to express myself in the most primal and primitive of ways – the only ways in which one can be totally uninhibited while in the creative state.

Even when I work on public art I am able to sustain avenues of unrestrained creativity as that state of ‘nomind’ is actively practiced and projected through the work. Whether I am creating intimate paintings, executing 14′ foot long canvasses, or working in the metal sculpture studio with co-creator Doug Hays, the discipline of maneuvering between ‘no-mind’ and analysis is continually challenged and honed.

Most recently, I’ve made some of my own painting tools to add to the mops and industrial sized brushes I already employ. In some instances, a hint of architectural form comes into play as I make increasingly larger and more powerful paintings.

At a deeper level, my creative process is about integrating and uniting the adult with my un-prejudiced inner-child. I am an avid student of psychology and its relationship to health, healing and well-being, which, when coupled with the inner-child/adult relationship that I experience and enjoy during the creative process brings me through any number of significant avenues to achieve true spirituality – connecting to the greater community called We and the interconnectedness of all things.

ARTWORK

Acrylic and sumi ink on canvas 66″ x 96″ ...

Acrylic, on Canvas 55″ x 97″ ...

Oxidized Mild Steel 31″ x 28″ x 10″ ...

Acrylic, Ink & Graphite on Canvas 59″ x 103″ ...

Acrylic, Ink & Graphite on Canvas 72″ x 77″ ...

Acrylic & Graphite on Canvas 93″ x 71″ ...

SOLD

Acrylic & Graphite on Canvas 71″ x 84″ SOLD ...

Acrylic and Copper Metallic Powder on Canvas 61″ x 39″ each SOLD ...

Acrylic and sumi ink on canvas 72″ x 60″ SOLD ...

Oxidized Mild Steel 27″ x 26″ x 10″ SOLD ...

Acrylic, Ink, Graphite, on Canvas 89″ x 59″ SOLD ...

Acrylic and Sumi Ink on Canvas 72″ x 72″ SOLD ...

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